Operation: Make Stormy, T-Tocs, Sam Axel and B0rsk0rn Jealous. A Day At CB and MF.

Greetings, Soldiers of the Team Seagal Infantry. Winter is behind us, and Spring is upon us. And as anyone who mountain bikes in Missouri knows, spring is a tricky time to get onto the trails due to the spring ground-thaw and rain showers that seems to keep the ground perpetually wet. And as we all know, riding wet trails leads to rutted trails, and that leads to eroded trails. Unless you ride horses, in which case these rules don't apply to you, so please continue to post-hole the trails we as a user group build and maintain, and don't forget to shit on them. (I mean, if horses can shit all over multi-use trails, why not humans?)

Nevertheless, with weather forecasted to be fantastic this past Sunday, a couple of ride options came into Team Seagal Headquarters on our room full of tele-types that bring us up-to-the-moment news to keep us on top of all ride-related information, For Great Justice. We indeed sent a small, surgical-strike-force in the form of Orin Boyd down to the Ouachita Challenge, an event that has been a staple of the team since the first time we atteneded it in 2007. Another ride was in our sights: the Route 66 Bicycle's "Death By Gravel" 90 mile gravel adventure through some of the same roads used in the Rally in the 100 Acre Woods, attended by our own Ad0rm Ryb0r.

Those events are all well and good, though Ole' Crotchy is here to tell you of another tale - one with highs, lows, happiness, sadness, laughter, crying, hope, despair, and above all, manliness. A murder of 4 Seagals, K-Weezy, Pry0r, Punch0r, and myself (the Coach) convened at the boat launch where we were afforded our first views of the most serene of Missouri's water features:
It wasn't long before it became readily apparent to us that today would be one of those "Perfect Days in the Mark Twain National Forest," and thus, would be a perfect chance to show those #PNWGoodLife jerks how good the life is down here in the midwest - perhaps spurring a little jealousy, or at least some homesickness.

Punch0r and I set off in the Cockpunch0r Mobile - but before meeting our comrades, we had to plan out our morning constitutionals so as not to have to go all equestrian, and take a shit on the trail. Punch0r spoke with Energ0r atop the Mt. Kohler at the MacDonalds, while I was able to keep the dam plugged until reaching the boat launch, where I would be able to visit my favorite pit toilets in the whole state. This time though, I had a guest, who obviously heard about the kind of noxious gases available in that stink lodge, and had to get a taste:
I could tell from the lack of movement, that spider was euphoric as fuck, and no doubt speaking in tongues. I could also tell from the tingle on my t'aint from the draft coming up from within the pit below, as I sat there trying to translate what that spider was saying, that it would be a windy day, bringing in warmth from the south.

Windy it was, as we rolled out onto the trail, with more than just a breeze coming off the lake. In fact, it was a rare thing to see the lake water have white-caps. Like an on-the-fence juggalo attending his first Gathering of the Juggalos, we briefly questioned our clothing choices, but within a mile or so, the trail peeled us away from the shoreline, and we were headed deeper into the woods, away from the gusty wind and towards the Telleck Connector, where we would be able to continue on to glory.

Approaching the first noteworthy climb of the day on South Trace, our questions about of clothing choices quickly turned into questions about bike part choices, particularly, the presence of antiquated mtb tech on our bikes. Things such as standard 9mm quick releases, threaded bottom brackets, non-taped steer tubes, a front derailleur, and worse of all - only *one* bike that had tires of 3" or wider. I mean, what fucking year is this, 2013? I was amazed we were able to get up the hills with any kind of "verve."
Despite our lack of baller-tude, we were able to get past our gear-related shortcomings and still have some fun in the near-perfect trail conditions. There was little dead-fall, and very few wet spots on the trail from water drainage, but true to OT surfaces, these almost never resulted in mud, just some wet splatter with firm rocks underneath.

We climbed up from the Trace Creek/Middlefork intersection to the DD/32 trailhead, to find a group of 5 or 6 dudes fully loaded with at least a couple of days worth of gear on their backs. Unable to stop, since glory waits for no man, we pressed on, crossed Hwy 32, and proceeded to shred epic gnar-gnar on the nearly 3 mile descent to CR 72. I mean, we were like Shreddie Van Halen down that fuggin' trail, brah.

The trail was rolling nicely, buff as Homer's head after sticking it in the bowling ball polisher:

It was so smooth, a fat bike wasn't even necessary to feel like we were having "the most fun we'd ever had on a bike:"

Climbing over the Ozark hills, my only hope was to attempt to latch onto the K-Weezy locomotive as he choo-choo'd up to the hill crests.

Our turn-around point on the OT was Wolf Pen Hollow, an excellent stopping point for some food, water and rest, having already done 12 or 13 miles:

look at those to fucking SS Raijins!

Deciding not to do the climb up to Hwy 49, we instead headed from whence we came. Punch0r, punching his was back down the descent to CR 72 and Adam's Creek:

What fun it was. Climbing back up to Hwy 32 and the John Roth Memorial was also tons of fun, riding the Weink0rn train taking smooth lines through all the creeks. Oooooweee!
It was on this return trip that we passed 2 separate groups of fellow shredders - probably the most I've ever seen on the MF at once.

The couple of miles between the DD/32 trailhead (a Team Seagal Satellite Office) and the Telleck Connector were pretty awesome too. Punch0r and I stopped to try to get a glimpse of a wet beaver:

...the spring was flowing heavily right next to the trail thanks to the recent rains and karst topography:
...And as was flowing the creek at the entrance to the Telleck Connector:

It wasn't long before we were back in full view of the Lake:

The loop around Council Bluff is very different terrain from the OT proper. It is much more physical, requiring more short bursts of power, and more wrenching of the bike in and out of coves, and not to mention the hills, i.e. the fire road climb:
happy to report that Pry0r's shorts are in good shape, with only moderate stretching

Punch0r proceeded to snap the both my wrists quite handily moments after I snapped this pic

Arriving at the Enough boat launch, I found that we were too late to the party:
Trojan brand, Shaq-size

We only had two climbs left at this point - oh, and a shitload of rocks. Around this time, fatigue was becoming a big part of the equation. My mind was wandering, though not due to my preferred method of induced-euphoria. I had thoughts float into my head, like how the name "Anne-Elise" sounds an awful lot like "Anal-Eaze" and how I would like to start my own political party called the "Constitutional Party." (This is different from the Constitution Party. Very, very different.) I could then run for office on a platform of regularity and a promise to re-invest in our nation's sewer system, with a possible re-circulation system for the gases that can be harnessed for fuel. Or just to get high as shit.

We had more trail to crush, like the notorious R.O.C. garden - so what does a Murder of Seagals do, but go all Shredward Shredderhands and c-c-c-crush it:

Don't forget the crushing of the spillway:

From here, there was little to do besides lay down suppressive fire in the form of a man-train passed the beach, and then back to the boat launch, victory clinched tighter than the the b-holes of the little league team at the moment Criss Angel's name was announced as their new head coach and jock-strap inventory manager. (or JSIM.)

Truly, a 33 mile purely-singletrack excursion deep within the Ozark hills got our minds right, and or t'aints sore. No matter, Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind saw us to the end of the ride with no flats, no mechanicals, or bonks. The Sun was out, the rain held off until the drive home, and PBRs waiting back at the car. Does it get any better than that?

I don't think it does.

Stay tuned,

-Casey F. Ryback

P.S. Look what fucking came on Pandora the other day:


Death By Hills 2015 - Anyone Get A Headcount?

Greetings, lactic-acid burning Team Seagal Fans! My legs are sitting here, with symptoms of C.O.L.S. (Crushed Out Leg Syndrome) running rampant. Thankfully, the medicine I have been self-administering in the form of peanut butter snickers, milk and coffee, are slowly working some magic. Also thankfully, the weather and roads cooperated big time for this year's much-anticipated 7th Anal Annual DBH. With weather as perfect as we had it, you would believe that Energor himself was looking down upon us with favor that day.

But it wasn't all roses and sunshine. For at the moment I awoke on DBH morn, and walked to the fridge to get some milk for my cereal, I was reminded of the previous night:

Still in a bit of a daze, I had to draw inspiration from several local crushers who are well versed with the starting-big-rides-hungover plan - people like Dr. Rolland Sallinger, D. Pri0r, H.H., all great riders to have gone on to great hungover-success before me. Fortunately, even though I came up short of the morning Triple Lindy, I still managed to pull off (or squeeze out) the minimum requirement of two summit attempts. Praise be to Energor.

And so it was to be, glorious mid-march weather in StL, and a great ride set to start. I arrived, admittedly a little nervous about what I was about to make my body do, but having summitted twice, I knew I had the foundation for a great day. So all that was left to do was set my internal soundtrack to some seriously inspirational steel-drum-laden tunage:

With the image of Arnold slaying the militia and saving Jenny with steel drums playing in the background, I couldn't be more set. So I was able to relax, and say hello to many cool people in the parking lot. A few simple words were said, and we rolled out at down Clayton Road, with a massive pack behind me:
Also, Check out Pry0r's video of the group

For what it's worth (nothing) it isn't too often a group this size gets together for a ride in this town, without some greater cause to motivate them to do so or without being charged an entry fee. But we saw everyone in this group - dudes, chicks, d00dz on gravel bikes, a 26" mtb (Nice work, Barry), at least 3 bikes in the Singlespeed Division, a couple of tri/tt bikes, CX bikes, and plenty of go-fast road bikes. Thankfully absent: recumbents. It was a diverse, eclectic group.

Anyway, as we cruised down Clayton, it was clear that it would be a little while before my legs were properly warmed up and ready for business. Shit, I was still not used to even seeing them exposed this year - my legs were more pasty white than Buddy's ass. (yeah, think about that.) So the only thing to do was to employ a Superior State of Mind, because the mind controls the legs. The first big wake-up of the day was the notorious Bartizan climb. Quickly dispatched, we were onto the next one. Unfortunately, approaching the next one, our own Harlan Banks, a.k.a. Nad Snurb, pressed the "eject" button which removed himself from the ride by way of busted-ass rear-derailleur hanger. I am fairly sure his derailleur hanger got wind of what was in store for the rest of the day, and decided to become a juggalo - also known as a failure.

Doing Strove's loop, I had to make sure to achieve retribution for last year, where I elected to not climb Starwoods in hopes of catching back onto the group. It was just how I remembered it, covered in pavement that looked like Seal's face. Stopping to help out K. "Hollywood" W. as he finished fixing a puncture, we would end up riding together for the next 80 miles. Yowza. Our other riding buddy's came and went, and we just kept the pedals turning. Climbing up Alt Road, we got E.K. in sights, but once we crested past Hidden Valley's entrance, we lost her to gnarly descending skills, and wouldn't reel her back in until the ascent up Forby, where we would form a bit of a wo-man train that would choo-choo its way all around the Allenton Loop, getting many thumbs-ups from the locals, and into the first rest stop at the Six Flags gas station. Topping off water bottles and procuring provisions for the next 45-50 miles, a small, surgical strike force departed, one that would basically stick together the rest of the day - myself, Hollywood, Dr. Sallinger, JR and crampin' Chris. Oooooweee! What a great day!

Even though we were 30 miles in, it felt as though I had sweated out most of the hangover, and the legs were doing what I pay them to do - crush shit out all day long. And climbing up Allenton past the roller coasters, I got to get a glimpse of the Greensfelder Trail surfaces, where they cross the road numerous times - and I'll tell you they were softer than Criss Angel out for an afternoon jog in Forest Park behind the WashU women's cross country team.

Of course after Allenton Road comes the Scenic Loop:
Jerkward has only one gear, and it ain't low
Exiting Scenic Loop Road, we all couldn't help but notice the completely full horse-trailer parking lot, dozens of horses ready to "aerate" the soft trails with their poo-covered hoofs. We appreciate all the hard work they put into helping build and maintain those trails by the way.

Scenic Loop, and then onto Woodland Meadows, where we would find new meaning for the term "25% grade." Down through Rockwoods Reservation on beautiful pavement gave us time to munch on snacks, and ride for a few miles in the big ring for a change. We then came to the base of Melrose, where our band of merry men had the collective wrist snapped by a dude on a tri bike in nearly his hardest gear. Getting dispatched uphill by aero bars and a sleeveless jersey was more disappointing to me than a juggalo hearing his son say that he wants to go to college. I suppose we all must learn some humility from time to time.

Melrose leads to Hwy T, which then takes us to Bassett, which then takes us to the infamous Cremin's Green, or "The Green Monster." It was here that I witnessed probably one of the most amazing performances of the day - 50 year old David F. pass my wheezing ass in a standing high cadence like I was standing still. I was reminded of a this speed comparison video:

Climbing that hill, afterwards you feel like something was cleansed from your body, and you are now stronger for it. And descending that hill, you would be able to tattoo yourself with your blazing disc rotors.

Bassett Rd, what was left of it, hurt pretty badly after Cremins. Regardless, we jammed down the backside, took a pass on visiting the monument, and continued on through some seriously beautiful scenery:

riders up the road
lone homeboy on the horizon
Bouquet certainly is a crusher, but at least you're distracted by the scenery. Once at the top of Bouquet, we cruised down Ossenfort, nearly got run over by some shit-eater on a motorcycle, and prepared for Babler Forest.

Babler  Forest.

We saw many things on the slopes of Babler Forest, all of them noteworthy. Here's a short list:
  • 50mph
  • the lead group, which was miraculously still together in a big way, leaving as we rolled up
  • a fucking dead horse being mourned by a live horse:
  • 2 door 1st-gen RAV4:
    This one's for Jerkward

Wildhorse Creek Road looks even bett0r when being ridden by a murder of Seagals:

Climbing Wildhorse Creek Road was tons of fun, and by tons of fun, I mean a demon hell-ride. But it provide us all with the chance to descend Rieger, climb Smith School, and get totally served by the Pfriedman's who were serving up PBJs and water - something that may or may not have saved several asses, and fueled our lap of Babl0r State P0rk.

I should mention, that at this point in the ride, we lost count of the dead squirrel corpses that were strewn as far as the eye can see, across nearly every road we set tire to. I had been figuring that someone in the lead group was picking them off just up the road from us.

By this time of day, it was becoming readily apparent that if you were still riding, there was no need to think about cutting short the route. Personally, I was feeling more and more confident as the day went on. And even though each hill hurt, I was able to recover sufficiently before hitting the next one, which meant that I never totally blew up on any climb, and never experienced any sign of cramping. That's not to say the hunger wasn't coming on strong. By the time we crested "Doberman Hill" the rumblings were coming on just in time to hit up the totally awesome gas station at Eatherton and WHC, where we stocked up on some loot, hour-6 style:

Resting at that gas station affords a person a great chance to people watch. Sunday, being a supremely nice day, we had the chance to watch dozens upon dozens of doctors, anesthesiologist, lawyers, bankers and financial investors playing the part of "badass Harley guy" on their $40,000 hogs rolling past. Good times.

That gas station, as far as I am concerned, marks the end of the monster hills. Sure, there are some tough ones yet (Orville and Shepard) but by this point in the ride, they almost felt like formalities. The more stand-out thing was the beautiful weather, the amazingly smooth pavement on Orville, and the good company. So what if we never caught the lead group - they're a buncha jerks anyway.

There were only a few miles left, up Shepard, over to Clayton, where we then hung a leroy onto Streucker, another Leroy on Valley, and finally a Ralphie onto Kehrs Mill. For bonus points, we hung a final larry into the Mitch's secret Kehr's Mill Bypass. Oooweee.

Rolling into the empty lot, both myself, KW and Dr. Sallinger were all commenting on how we all felt surprisingly good, considering what we had just did. Good signs for a sure-to-be-gnarly season. And 90+ miles is a great start:

It was seriously awesome to ride with so many people yesterday. I hope the rest of the season can treat us as well as this ride did (except you, Snurb). Next up, some gravel and mountain shit.

Stay tuned, sucka!

-Casey F. Ryback


Things to Keep in Mind This Sunday

Greetings, slobbering Team Seagal minions. With all the reschedules and what-have-yous, I occurred to the higher-up fat-cats in the Team Seagal management structure (Energor himself, for we all answer to him) that there may be a few things being forgotten. So if you plan on dragging your festering, bloated near-corpse up and down all the west county hills with us this sunday, these are a few reminders...

When: Clipping in a 9AM

Where: across the street from The Wolf Coffee Company at Kehr's Mill Road and Clayton Road - the parking lot for Fortel's Pizza Den.


Scroll down for a turn-by-turn que sheet.

A few more notes:
  • Do not expect the initial group to stick together - it will break up and form cute little grouplets. If you don't know where you are going, then make sure to stick with someone who does!
  • I'm pretty sure this will be a big fucking group, so please be courteous to drivers, which means not blocking the lane on two lane roads (of which there are many!)
  • There are only 2 gas stations/refuel points on the route - one at mile ~30 (at Allenton Road and Hwy 44) and the other one is 50 miles later at mile ~80 (at Wildhorse Creek Road and Eatherton.)  PLAN YOUR WATER ACCORDINGLY!!
In life, try to keep in mind, when making decisions, "WWBD?" What Would charles Bronson Do? Here's your morning inspiration to get you super pumped:

You're Welcome,
 -Casey F. Ryback

P.S. Here is your que sheet, again:

-Start at Lone Wolf Coffee
-Head west on Clayton,
-Left on Thunderhead Canyon Dr.
-Left on Westglen Farms Dr.
-Right on "Village Plaza View Dr," toward the stripmall
-enter bike path opposite the parking lot
-left across black pedestrian bridge, crossing Hwy 100
-left after bridge
-hard right off of curb onto Old Manchester (across from the Jack in the Box)
-left onto Woods Rd. Descend and turn left up Bartizan, come back down, and continue down Woods.
-left onto bike path and ride south along Hwy 109.
-left up Old State for about .1 mile
-left onto Redtail Hawk Dr
-Then turn/veer left onto Johns Cabin Rd, which is a clockwise loop (Mitch's secret training loop) and will bring you back to Old State. (BUT not before making a quick left up and back down Starwood Rd!)
-Cross 109 at Old State, turn right up Alt Rd.
-Left on Forby.
-Right on N. Central Ave
-Cross over Hwy 44, turn right onto West Main St (in between train tracks.)
-left onto Wengler and start Allenton Loop, going CCW.
-Exit Allenton Loop to the left, go underneath Hwy 44, and climb Allenton Rd. *GAS STATION*
- right onto Scenic Loop Rd, going the RIGHT way. Let's avoid confusion, and park rangers. This is different than what the Garmin link shows.
-right back onto Allenton Rd.
-left onto Melrose
-right onto Hwy 100
-right onto Woodland Meadows Dr.
-right onto Old Manchester
-right onto Glencoe (through Rockwoods.)
-Go straight up Melrose
-Turn right (again) onto Hwy 100, cross over and turn left and continue on Melrose all the way until it descends to Hwy T.
-Left on T
-Left on Bassett
-Left onto Cremin's Green, out-and-back. Continue up Bassett.
-Left onto Old Manchester
-left onto Bouquet.
-Left onto Ossenfort (at the big white farm house)
-Cross T, and continue on Ossenfort.
-Continue straight onto Wild Horse Creek
-turn left up Babler Forest as an out-and-back.
-Come back down, and turn right onto Wild Horse Creek, climbing to Rieger.
-Turn left onto Rieger
-Right on Pond.
-left on Smith School Rd.
-Left on BA.
-left into Babler State Park. Once in Babler, turn right onto John Cochran Dr (CCW loop), turn right up Theodore Wirth Drive, and left down Guy Park Dr (past the pool). Turn right back up John Cochran Dr, climb up the first hill, and turn left at the bottom of the other side (also John Cochran Dr (be careful on the gravel!) and duck under gate to exit Babler State Park.
-Immediately turn right up Wild Horse Creek Drive (Doberman.) *GAS STATION*
-Turn right onto Old Eatherton.
-Left onto Orville.
-Right up Shephard.
-Left onto bike path alongisde 109
-Left onto Clayton
-Left on Strecker
-Right on Kehr's Mill
-(option to turn left into Saddle Creek Neighborhood and reconnect up to Kehr's Mill at top of hill)
-or take Kehr's Mill straight back to The Wolf Public House.

*Please take note of where to exit Babler State Park - it is not well marked, and easy to miss. It is at the bottom of the second climb, when you will pass by it at first, and then loop back around to it. It is not very well paved, and you will have to go underneath a metal gate.


Weather Looks Good For This Weekend - How About Your Legs?

Greetings, Fellow Team Seagal butthash-addicts! As I sit here developing my recumbent-cycle form lounging on the couch, and as Mona the one-headed Cerberus sits here chewing on some pizzle, I am gazing upon the weather forecast for this Sunday, which is looking very promising: http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/l/63109:4:US

"But Crotch, I never rely on Weather.com - wunderground/accuweather/noaa/turdforecasting is way moar accurate and so I think you should ...*chokes on cock*..."   Shaddap. Arguing over which weather forecasting service to rely on, 5 days out, is more useless than a cooking segment in a morning news show.

In the meantime, assuming the weather holds out, and assuming no more events crop up and get in the way, this ride should be quite amaz0rz, and with minimal thermal clothing required. And, as per usual, will involve far-less drama than a season-opening local Cat 1/2 road race breakaway.

Also, despite the trend in cycling for tires increasing in width faster than the average 'Murican's waistline, we here at Team Seagal HQ would like to assure you that this route is very traditional, in that it doesn't require you to have any fatter of a tire than a 700x23. I'm not saying you can't ride your Salsa BlackBorrow or your Surly Ice Cream Truck if you want to get that nice floatation, compliance, and velcro-like grip at the RR track crossings in Eureka, but it won't be necessary.

In other news, a ride where some fatter-than-23c tires *will* be necessary is one put on by someone who's name may-or-may-not rhyme with "Man Sherman."  And since not everyone is a cool person on the social medias and the facebooks and the internets, it is once again up to your trusted news source, Team Seagal. He's calling it, in what can only be seen as a near-worship level of reverence to Death By Hills ride, the "Death By Gravel." Now I know what the Tropical Storm is thinking, "That sounds like the way that ole' Crazy Jim may have died in an alternate universe." He would be right, but it is also a gnarly off-pavement route that will congeal in the town of Steelville, apparently at the City Pool on March 29th at 8:30am. Here is the route, which can be uploaded as a course onto your GPS unit to ensure you go the right way:
Garmin Connect - Death by Gravel

90 miles in the Mark Twain National Forest? Hells yes. In the words of Ice Cube, I'm about to pull out the jammy and kill the punani. Only, by "jammy" I mean "bicycle" and by "kill the punani" I mean "ride the bicycle in the Ozarks with others."

In order to help get the proper motivation for all the climbing that is on the horizon, here is a video that should inspire us all to climb like a juiced-pro, i.e. in the big ring. Because it's the saying goes that is etched over the marble entryway at Team Seagal HQ:  "Big Gears Mean Big Results"

Here is another thing to keep in mind for inspiration when you're facing some hardcore pain-tunnel action - Charles Bronson being super-badass:

 "Looks like you brought two too-many..."

In the meantime, get totally short-bus'd.
-Coachward F. Crotchbak